Count Jakub Voracek as one who wants to go to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.
At the BOG meetings in January, the topic of Olympics wasn’t even on the agenda. There were reports that the IIHF and IOC would cover the costs of NHL players going, but as Bettman said, that wasn’t the league’s only requirement.
Bettman had this to say at all-star weekend:
“What I think has happened though, there were probably some owners over time who always thought the Olympics were a good idea, there were some owners who always hated it, and there were probably a bunch of clubs who didn’t give it much thought until the IOC said they were not going to pay the expenses. And then I think it caused a number of clubs to say ‘wait a minute if that’s how they value our participation why are we knocking ourselves out?’ So whether or not it gets paid, and we haven’t been assured that it’s being paid, we haven’t been told where the money’s coming from and frankly I have on some level, perhaps it’s emotional, a real problem if money that would otherwise go to hockey development is going to this purpose.”
Voracek was speaking to the media in Toronto on Thursday and got on to the topic of Olympic participation.
“It’s stupid and I find it absolutely ridiculous,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
“Absolutely ridiculous. We have it once every four years. I read something that Bill Daly said we’re not going. Nobody wants you to go. The players want to go. Why you’re saying you’re not going? You’re not part of the players association. … Nobody wants you there. They want the players.”
Presumably, part of the issue too is that the NHL loses its players and has to shut down its league for two weeks in the middle of the season, while also not being paid for the tournament. Whereas the World Cup is NHL run and owned, the Olympics are an IOC event that they hold close to the chest.
Some players, such as Alex Ovechkin on many occasions, have floated the idea of going to the Olympics whether the league shuts down or not.
“It’s the Olympics,” Voracek said. “It’s not just about business. You want to be part of the Olympics. And trust me, players want to go. And the players who don’t go get a week off to recharge their batteries. If you have bumps and bruises, you can heal and recover.
“The players want to go, I guarantee you that. I want to see how you are going to hold [Alex] Ovechkin back. The Russian players. Tell them they can’t go.”